Nov 1 2017

Get Your Passport to Murder

If you attended Bouchercon Toronto, you’ve already heard about PASSPORT TO MURDER: BOUCHERCON ANTHOLOGY 2017. It’s out now from Down & Out Books, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best collections I’ve had the good fortune to be part of. We had a terrific event to celebrate its launch at Bouchercon, with many of the authors in attendance, as well as the collection’s editor, John McFetridge. (The photo above was taken there; you’ll spot Janet Hutchings, Gary Phillips, Chris Grabenstein, Craig Faustus Buck, Tanis Mallow, Rosemary McCracken and other familiar faces.)

My story, “Jerusalem Syndrome,” was inspired by a press trip I took to Israel in 2012, when the issue of whether women should be allowed to pray at the Western Wall was a hotly—and violently—contested issue. (Visit Women of the Wall if you’re interested in learning more about this. Spoiler alert: it’s still a huge issue.) Here’s how “Jerusalem Syndrome” opens:

Suzanne Horne fell in love with Tel Aviv at first sight. She’d dreamed of visiting Israel for years, long before she and her husband joined Pastor Ted’s church. The long series of flights—from Houston to Chicago to New York to Tel Aviv—hadn’t sapped her energy, or her enthusiasm. From the air, the city glittered like a jewel at the edge of the Mediterranean. Up close, on the bus drive in from the airport, she was just as impressed. Every way she looked, there were palm trees and names that resonated with Biblical weight along with modern skyscrapers and a palpable sense of energy.

“Look to your left,” Pastor Ted said as they were getting off the bus beside the hotel. “That’s the ancient port city of Jaffa. Four thousand and five hundred years old and still going strong.”

“Jaffa! Where Jonah was swallowed by the whale!” called out Minday Serle. She poked her teenage daughter, Mercy, in the shoulder. “Remember that?”

Of course you remember that, Suzanne thought. You’ve gone on Pastor Ted’s Tour of the Holy Land every year! Then she caught Mercy’s eye and felt guilty. The girl gave an uncertain nod and her eyes slid to the ground. Minday might be a piece of work, but her daughter was never anything but gentle and shy.

“Exactly, Minday. All right, everyone. Tonight we have dinner and prayer circle,” Pastor Ted said.

“Do we have time to take a short walk on the beach?” Suzanne asked. She could already imagine soft sand under her feet while the Mediterranean lapped at her toes.

Pastor Ted’s smile remained plastered on his face, but his eyes narrowed. “No, you don’t. You just have time to take your luggage up to your room now.”

Suzanne wasn’t ready to give in. After four years of waiting for a spot to open up on Pastor Ted’s annual Tour of the Holy Land, she and her husband, Bobby, had snagged spaces thanks to their work on—and donations to—the presidential campaign. It wasn’t that Pastor Ted was a big fan of the candidate—behind the scenes, he referred to the man as a Mormon moron—but certain services were expected if you wanted to rise in that circle. While Bobby thrived in that environment, Suzanne struggled to fit in.

“What time, exactly, is Prayer Circle?” Suzanne asked.

Pastor Ted shot her a look that telegraphed what a patently foolish woman she was. “If you wanted to walk on the beach, Suzanne, you should have gone to California for Christmas.” The tone of his voice was soft but there was steel under it.

“With all the sinners bound for hell,” Minday added.

“It looks so beautiful…” Suzanne mumbled.

“Of course it’s beautiful,” Pastor Ted said. “God created it as the Holy Land. It is a blessed patch of earth.”

“Why did you have to ask that?” Bobby was beside Suzanne, head down, pulling their wheeled suitcase behind him. “You know how he is. You won’t get to set foot in the sand. Maybe none of us will.”

“Sorry,” Suzanne murmured. “I was just so excited.”

“Just don’t open your mouth, okay? Because whenever you do, you put your foot in it.”

Suzanne’s shoulders slumped. She was always putting her foot wrong around the church crowd, especially Pastor Ted.

Publishers Weekly gave PASSPORT TO MURDER a starred review, and it singled out “Jerusalem Syndrome” for praise. I hope you’ll pick up the collection. In case you need any added incentive, all proceeds go to the literacy organization Frontier College.


Oct 19 2017

Killing Malmon Is Out!

You’ve already seen photos from the top-secret Noir at the Bar: Killing Malmon Edition back in September. I’m thrilled to say that KILLING MALMON: 24 AUTHORS, ONE VICTIM is now available from Down & Out Books! If you know me, you know I have no trouble murdering real-life people I dislike in my fiction (next time you see me, ask me about EVIL IN ALL ITS DISGUISES). But people I’m fond of? That’s not easy, but that fact that this anthology is a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society made me kill Dal Malmon, as ordered. (Also the fact that no Malmons were harmed in the making of the collection.) My story is called “My Side of the Matter,” and if that title sounds familiar, it’s because it’s an homage to a Truman Capote story of the same name. I hope you’ll enjoy it!


Oct 4 2017

Where to Find Me at Boucheron Toronto

Bouchercon is always a high point of the year for me, but this year it’s going to be extra-special, because my hometown is hosting it. Toronto is an amazing place, and I’m glad so many of my friends and fellow crime-fiction fans will get to see it up close. It hit me today that we’re just a week out, so it’s high time I tell you where to find me at the convention:

Wednesday, October 11th, 9pm: Noir at the Bar, Bouchercon Edition. I’ll be reading with a terrific crew that includes Owen Laukkanen, David Swinson, Eric Beetner, Jamie Mason, Zoë Sharp, Thomas Pluck, MH Callaway, Sheena Kamal, and Scott Adlerberg. The fabulous Tanis Mallow and Rob Brunet will co-host. You don’t need to be registered for Bouchercon to attend — Noir at the Bar is free and open to anyone who can make it to the Rivoli (334 Queen Street West, about a 10-minute walk from the Sheraton). More details here.

Friday, October 13th, 1:30pm-2pm: Signing at the Tor/Forge Hospitality Suite. Do you like free books? Tor/Forge will be giving away some paperback copies of BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS and I’ll be on hand to sign them. If you’ve already read it, just come by to say hello. There are also snacks, prizes, and author bingo, in case you need further inducements…

Friday, October 13th, 3:30pm-4:30pm: “The Canadian Panel.” The topic seems a little random — the convention’s in Toronto, so there will be plenty of Canucks on panels — but with a crew that includes Jennifer Hillier, David Morrell, Ausma Zehanat Khan, Paul E. Hardisty, and moderator Kevin Burton Smith, you know you’re in for a good time. (Sheraton, Grand West room.)

Saturday, October 14th, 7pm-8pm: Passport to Murder Signing. Yes, you’ll be hungry and want to go out to dinner, but come see us first! I’m honored to be part of this year’s Bouchercon anthology, Passport to Murder, which just got a starred review from Publishers Weekly. (My story “Jerusalem Syndrome” got special notice in the review. Can murder be miraculous? You’ll need to read it to find out.) All proceeds go to Frontier College, a national literary organization. (Sheraton, Grand Foyer.)

Here’s hoping I get to see you next week!


Sep 29 2017

Passport to Murder Gets a Starred Review From PW

Bouchercon is just around the corner, and so is the release of PASSPORT TO MURDER: BOUCHERCON ANTHOLOGY 2017 from Down & Out Books. This year’s edition benefits Frontier College (which is, to be clear, not a college at all but a national Canadian literacy organization). I’m honored that my story “Jerusalem Syndrome” was selected to be part of the collection, and I’m delighted by the starred review Publishers Weekly gave the book. According to PW: “Each of the 22 often thought-provoking short stories in this rich and varied anthology relates to travel and possible or intended murder… in “Jerusalem Syndrome,” Hilary Davidson shows how a visit to the Holy Land can alter a woman’s life in (perhaps) miraculous ways.” The full (and slightly misspelled) review is below. Pre-order the book now!


Sep 14 2017

Noir at the Bar: Killing Malmon Edition

It’s tough to keep a secret in the age of social media, but the Killing Malmon crew in New York pulled it off. Rob Hart deserves the credit: it was his idea to surprise Dan and Kate Malmon on their trip to the Big Apple with a special super-secret Noir and the Bar. Dan and Kate are beloved by the crime-fiction community, and they’re the editors of Killing Malmon: 30 Authors… One Victim, an anthology to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (Kate has MS, so this is an issue close to their hearts). The usual suspects — Rob Hart, Todd Robinson, Angel Luis Colon, Thomas Pluck, Dave White, Hector Acosta, and me — read excerpts from our stories. If you’d like to learn more about the collection, which will be published in October by Down & Out Booksclick here. If you’d like to see how much fun we had with the event, scroll down!

Were the Malmons surprised? Hell yes. Recovering with drinks.

Reading “My Side of the Matter,” which was inspired by the famous Truman Capote story.

Big Daddy Thug Todd Robinson double duty: bartending before he took the stage.

The theme of the collection is killing Malmon, after all…

I love these crazy kids.

 


Aug 8 2017

Event with Susan Elia MacNeal

I’ve been a huge fan of Susan Elia MacNeal‘s novels since the very start. (That’s no exaggeration — I got an advance copy of the first book in her Maggie Hope series, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, back in 2011 and immediately fell in love.) Tonight I have the pleasure of interviewing Susan about her seventh Maggie Hope book, THE PARIS SPY. We’ll be at Park Slope’s Barnes & Noble (267 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn) at 7pm tonight. Come say hello!

 


Jun 12 2017

Suspense Night 2017

I’ve done so many events over the years, but Suspense Night at the St. Louis County Library was one of the all-time greatest. My thanks to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make it happen, to Reed Farrel Coleman for being an excellent MC, to my co-panelists Blake Crouch, Maureen Corrigan, and Peter Blauner for being so much fun to share a stage with, to the Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America for the warm welcome, and to everyone who turned out!

Lunch at Cielo with some friends of the library.

At the library for the panel.

Quite the crowd.

Having fun!

Post-event. What a great night! (More photos here.)

 

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Jun 1 2017

Meet Me in St. Louis!

I’m thrilled to be part of the twelfth annual Suspense Night at the St. Louis County Library next Thursday, June 8th. I’ll be appearing with Reed Farrel Coleman, Blake Crouch, Peter Blauner, and NPR book critic Maureen Corrigan. Click here for full details. Hope to see you there!


May 30 2017

Photos From the Queens Book Festival

I had a blast at the Queens Book Festival on Sunday. I owe a huge debt to Alex Segura, who organized the panel *and* the entire crime track of programming. Thanks to my terrific fellow panelists, and to everyone who came out to see us!

There was a lot of laughter…

The shades never came off.

Post-panel smiles. Left to right: moderator Scott Adlerberg, Alex Segura, me, Adam Sternbergh, Lyndsay Faye, and Dave White.

Hanging out with Alex and the incredibly adorable Baby G afterwards.


May 24 2017

This Weekend: Queens Book Festival

What are you doing this Memorial Day weekend? If you’ll be in New York, I hope you’ll check out the Queens Book Festival. I’ll be on the Mystery Writers of America “Craft of Mystery” panel at noon on Sunday with a stellar crew: Lyndsay Faye, Alex Segura, Adam Sternbergh, Dave White, and moderator Scott Adlerberg. That’s not the only mystery-themed event that day — there’s a conversation between Queens-based crime writers Radha Vatsal and Alex Segura at 4pm and a Noir at the Bar with SJ Rozan, Thomas Pluck, Jen Conley, Nick Kolokowski, Sarah Weinman, Cathi Stoler, and SA Solomon at 5pm. (Details on events here.)

The Queens Book Festival is free to attend, but — as the organizers put it — “seating areas are for a minimal donation.” (Location and transit details here; ticket info here.) Rain or shine, hope to see you on Sunday!